Surprising Insights Into Untapped Leadership


Looking for untapped leadership potential? Try looking for the person who provides outstanding customer service.

Looking for untapped leadership potential?

Try looking for the person who is providing outstanding customer service.

That was one of the key takeaways I jotted across my notebook page at this year’s Global Leadership Summit.

The session featured Horst Schulze, COO of the Ritz Carlton Hotels. In his fantastic talk, Schulze challenged leaders to explore the relationship between leadership and customer service.

And as he built his case, it dawned on me that when you spot outstanding customer service, you actually may be seeing evidence of leadership potential. Lying dormant in that person, there might be remarkable leadership capabilities waiting to be discovered and developed.

Because those who provide exemplary customer service are:

  • Others-focused
  • Intuitive
  • Solution-oriented
  • Initiative takers

In other words, the core qualities of someone who provides exceptional service are the very qualities you would look for in a rising leader.

Several years ago I saw this truth played out while waiting to pick up two conference speakers in the Calgary airport. This was before cell phones, and the speakers were arriving at the same time, on separate flights, at completely opposite ends of the terminal.

But a sharp thinking airport volunteer recognized my dilemma and offered to wait for one speaker while I went to meet the other.

But she did much more than simply tell my arriving guest that I would be a few minutes late. When I returned to that part of the airport, I found her sitting in a local café having coffee with my conference speaker. She made him feel welcome, at ease, and well cared-for.

That volunteer not only exhibited exceptional customer service. She had demonstrated core leadership ability.

She recognized a problem, she took initiative to find a solution, and she executed her solution with excellence.

That’s leadership.

Ever since then, I’ve kept a watchful eye out for people inside and outside organizations I lead who exhibit these qualities. And more often than not, I’ve discovered that inside the person who is providing such service lies the heart of a leader.

Who have you encountered of late who has provided exceptional customer service? Perhaps there’s someone in your own organization whom you have observed going well above and beyond the call of duty in order to provide great service to a customer or to a member of your church.

You might well have found someone with more than great customer service skills.

You might have found your next rising leader.

By Scott Cochrane


Please register for a free account to view this content

We hope you have enjoyed the 10 discipleship resources you have read in the last 30 days.
You have exceeded your 10 piece content limit.
Create a free account today to keep fueling your spiritual journey!

Already a member? Login to iDisciple

The Leader As a Performer
Dr. Tim Elmore
Don't Be Unsettled by Trials, Tribulations
Steve Kelly
Leadership Adjustments
Lead Like Jesus
How Can My Pain Be Used for Good?
Pastor Rick Warren
Abound in Good Works
Greenelines Leadership Podcast
Follow Us

Want to access more exclusive iDisciple content?

Upgrade to a Giving Membership today!

Already a member? Login to iDisciple